Entertainment & Arts

Warren Clarke, star of Dalziel and Pascoe, dies aged 67

Media captionSome of Warren Clarke's best known roles

British actor Warren Clarke, best known for TV role in Dalziel And Pascoe, has died aged 67 after a short illness, his agent has confirmed.

Clarke, who was born in Oldham, starred in the controversial 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, by Stanley Kubrick.

He recently appeared in the BBC One dramas Call the Midwife and Down to Earth, about a family moving to rural Devon.

The actor is due to appear in a remake of Poldark.

The series, which is due to be released next year, was his last role before his death.

Clarke, with his heavy set build and hangdog facial features, was a perfect fit for grumpy police detective Dalziel, who was translated to the screen from the books by Reginald Hill.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Clarke (far left) was also known for his role in Clockwork Orange

The popular series ran on BBC One from 1996 to 2007 and clocked up 46 episodes, some of which he directed.

Speaking of his curmudgeonly character in 1997, Clarke said: "One of the reasons I did the series was because I loved the fact that he doesn't bow to liberal views of society.

"He's this bloke from the North who's farting, scratching and behaving badly with women."

Clarke started his acting career on the stage of the Liverpool Playhouse and in Huddersfield Repertory.

In the 1960s, he played a number of smaller roles, including two characters in Coronation Street, before establishing his name in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.

Media captionWarren Clarke recalls working with Clint Eastwood

Clarke played Dim, one of the thugs who indulged in "ultraviolence" with their ringleader, played by Malcolm McDowell.

On the 40th anniversary of the film's release in 2011, Clarke said working with the legendarily exacting film director was "extraordinary".

"If he thought your performance was false he would ask: 'Why are you doing that?' If you didn't have an answer, he'd shout at you. But I got on well with him and I would shout at him if I thought he was pushing us too hard," said the actor.

He said that numerous offers came from Hollywood after his performance, but he turned them down, saying: "It was stuff I didn't want to be involved with."

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption The actor also played Winston Churchill on stage, alongside Robert Demeger's Neville Chamberlain

Clarke's physical presence landed him the role of Winston Churchill in a 1974 ITV drama, Jennie, and he later played the World War Two leader on stage in Three Days in May.

Roles in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Blackadder the Third and Lovejoy were added to his CV during the 1970s and 80s.

In 2005, he graced the canon of costume drama with a memorable turn as Boythorn in an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

Four years later he appeared in the acclaimed drama Red Riding as a corrupt police superintendent.

David Morrissey, who also starred in Red Riding, paid tribute to Clarke via his twitter feed.

"So sad to hear about the death of Warren Clarke. He was a very special man/great actor. We had wonderful times together on Red Riding."

Actor Will Mellor, who appeared alongside him in 2011 comedy In With The Flynns, told the BBC Clarke was "a generous man on and off screen".

"He played my dad and was a real father figure to me and a friend as well as an acting colleague," he said.

Comic and actor Jack Dee said Clarke was "a brilliant, funny and generous man who was a joy to work with".

Actor Richard E Grant said: "Worked with him twice and shared a holiday in the Caribbean. Hilarious and irreverent."

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